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Please reassess our capacity to pay for my terminally ill husband's care.

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Ensure the cost of aged care for a parent doesn't bankrupt the spouse and children.

My children are losing their father who at the age of 49 suffered a cerebral hemorrhage within an existing brain tumour and now requires nursing home care.   My husband has multiple disabilities, requiring 24 hour care, and has terminal cancer.  Please don't add financial hardship to our distress by making the cost of care for their father more than we can afford.  

We were a normal hardworking Australian family with middle class salaries, a partially paid off average suburban home and an inexpensive car.  We have two school aged children and have lived like most families, paying our taxes and being good law abiding citizens, assuming that if a medical tragedy struck, our compassionate society would ensure that we did not risk losing our family home due to medical expenses.  Now I can see that I was wrong.  For our family and for other Australian families who suffer tragic life-altering medical tragedies, the effects can be devastating.   

Upon entry into aged care, and at the time of our aged care assessment, my husband was still in receipt of LSL, and holiday pay entitlements paid fortnightly, and I was in receipt of a salary from a part-time teaching contract.  Despite emphasising the fact that this was not indicative of our true financial position and that it would change shortly, since my husband’s disabilities and terminal condition meant that he would never be able to work again, this information was deemed to be irrelevant.   We are now in a situation where our weekly aged care costs exceed our net family income by close to $400 a week and I am forced to redraw  money on our mortgage to pay for my husband's care.

Is it not enough that the children are losing their father?  This Aged Care policy means that in time we could also lose our home.  Please review this legislation so that the unique circumstances of non-aged individuals forced into aged care is considered. 

According to new Aged Care policy, my husband must leave aged care for 28 days and then be readmitted into care, before a reassessment of our financial capacity to pay a RAD (or equivalent daily charge) is made.   Since my husband requires 24 hour a day care, removing him for 28 days while he is so ill, would cause a great deal of distress.   Please re-evaluate our family’s capacity to pay for his care without insisting that he first leaves the care he needs.

For families already burdened emotionally and financially with a medical diagnosis requiring this high-level care, these new government policies are devastating. Not only have we lost our principal breadwinner but, in addition to this, his care costs alone exceed our family income. This is not fair in a caring society and I implore you to see that it is changed.

On compassionate grounds Senator Fifield please do not insist that  my husband  first leaves the care that he needs and then re-enters one month later, simply so that a reassessment can occur. For the sake of others who find themselves in similar circumstances to my own, I beg you to review these new aged care policies and ensure that a reassessment of a family's ability to pay for care no longer has such an impractical requirement. 

Lyn Robson

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